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How Mobile Apps for Associations Can Increase Revenue

We’re giving you the rundown on how mobile apps for associations can increase revenue and even increase member engagement!

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Increasing revenue is something every association wants to achieve. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want more money? Associations, just like every other running business, rely on revenue in order to function. However, unlike other businesses, bringing in revenue can be a much more difficult task. This is why increasing revenue is detrimental for the success of your association. But when it comes to revenue increase, you don’t want your members to take the hit.

According to Marketing General’s 2021 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report, only 20% of surveyed associations claim to raise dues annually. Additionally, 53% of associations claim to raise dues “as needed”. While raising member dues is sometimes necessary and can increase revenue, it’s a red flag to your current and even your potential members. If your members get used to paying a certain price, you may lose them when that price is raised.

So, how can you combat this? Consider alternative non-dues revenue routes- like mobile apps for associations. Yes, the mobile apps we all know and love can actually become a valuable source of non-dues revenue for your association. So, if your association is looking to bring in more revenue, but wants to keep members happy in the process, creating a mobile app might be for you. But where should you start?

We’re giving you the rundown on how mobile apps for associations can increase revenue (and even increase member engagement!)

We’re giving you the rundown on how mobile apps for associations can increase revenue (and even increase member engagement!). If you’re looking to create a mobile app of your own, here’s what you should know.

Why mobile apps?

So, you might be wondering, why mobile apps? Do they really bring in that much revenue? And how will they attract audiences to your association? These are all very good questions that can be answered in one simple statement: The power of the mobile device.

According to SmartInsights, users spend 69% of media time on average on smartphones. In addition, More than 80% of mobile minutes in all markets are spent in apps. That’s right, over three quarters of time on phones are spent using apps- one of which could be your association’s app. If you’ve been thinking the over the idea to create an app for your association, there’s no better time to start.

In fact, waiting any longer could result in missed opportunities with new members. Above all else, having a mobile app for your association (no matter its function) can cause mobile members to become more active with your association. With apps having a more appealing interface and less wait time than a mobile website, users will find an app more convenient and therefore, use it more often. This results in higher engagement with your association, hopefully resulting in an increase in future membership renewals.

So, we know that mobile apps are the way to go for associations looking to breakthrough in the mobile world and increase their engagement. But how can your mobile app start increasing your association’s non-dues revenue? Let’s go over a few different methods you can consider when creating a mobile app.

Mobile apps and display ads

We’ve spoken before on the power of advertisement for associations looking to increase revenue. But, did you know your mobile app can also bring in ad revenue for your association? That’s right. You can host display ads on your associations mobile app and collect revenue from companies looking to promote their brand. Moby Affiliates claims that third-party, in-app mobile display ads are on track to make almost $9 billion in revenue by the year 2020. Because of this, both mobile advertisers and publishers have been focusing their energy on ad campaigns within mobile apps. It’s clear that hosting display ads on your association’s mobile app can generate some serious revenue. But how should you go about hosting these ads?

To start, you want to make sure the ads you host relate back to your members and their needs. For example, if your association focuses on the health of its members, you don’t want to host ads for fast food restaurants or any other unhealthy product. Make sure the ads you host directly relate to your association’s mission and beliefs. A great way to avoid this issue is to partner with businesses who have similar target market as your association. A successful association partnership can lead to an increase in revenue through display ads.

To make display ads work for your association, you need to first make sure there is a significant audience for your mobile app. Without traffic, companies will not want to work with your app on advertisement. To do this, make sure you promote your app to members. You can send out announcements for your app through email. Or, you can consistently promote it on blog posts, social media updates, or any other relevant channel.

In-app purchases

Another way to build up non-dues revenue using your association’s mobile app deals with the concept of in-app purchases. Chances are, you’ve directly experienced in-app purchase options before. Many apps offer specialized options that can only be accessed by paying a fee. This way, users have the option to use a free version, or pay extra for a variety of features.

Your association can adopt this technique into its app. Whether your app is for members only, or if it’s a community app looking to raise awareness about your mission, in-app purchases can be incorporated. Think of your association’s app as a base to build up from. Your app itself can be a free of charge download- almost a “freemium” version for audiences. This brings in a wide variety of target audience members, looking to interact and benefit from the convenience of a mobile app. However, your association can take exclusive features and charge a service. Calling these options “premium services” will not only appeal to members, it will create a higher value for these services.

So, what options should be premium and what should just be given away for free? For members, you want to stray away from charging for options they already pay for. Members should be allowed to access their information, view benefits, communicate with other members, and use any other basic feature without a fee.

However, you can use your app to charge non-members to use services that members may get for free. This not only boosts revenue for your association; It also gives non-members a crash course on how your association can work for them as a member. Don’t miss out on opportunities to cash in with your mobile app. Consider adding in-app purchases and make your audiences pay for an enhanced mobile experience.

Make your app count

Last, but certainly not least, we want to touch on the importance of a good mobile app design.

Not all apps look the same. They all sport different functions, have different branding, and come from different designers. However, when it comes to your app, design is key. You want to make sure your app’s design is completely branded. In fact, it shouldn’t be much different from your mobile website appearance. This will keep everything synonymous for audiences.

You also want to make sure your design is user-friendly. Make every app option easy to find and easy to navigate. An easy-to-use mobile app will make members happy and willing to use more often, increasing your chance at gaining some serious non-dues revenue from this opportunity.

If your association is considering bringing in a mobile app to increase revenue and engagement, hopefully these tips will help the journey. Consider incorporating these strategies into your association’s mobile and revenue strategy and see how mobile apps can increase your overall revenue.